Ever since PAF humbuckers met flamed-maple top in 1958, the Les Paul Standard has been revered among players for its unparalleled heights of tone and playability, as well as its sultry looks. The guitar took on iconic status in the hands of players such as Eric Clapton, Mike Bloomfield, Jimmy Page, Paul Kossoff, Slash, Zakk Wylde, and countless others. Now the Les Paul Standard from Gibson USA kicks the legend into a whole new dimension, loading an ergonomic new fingerboard radius and incredibly versatile pickup switching functions onto a guitar that otherwise still embodies everything that made the “standard” legendary and making this powerful performer available for right- and left-handed players alike. Two of Gibson’s most accurate PAF reproductions are routed through switching that—while looking entirely traditional—provides humbucking low-noise single coil, out-of-phase, and direct-through tones, in addition to the usual options. And just like the gorgeous Les Paul Standards of 1958-60, the Les Paul Standard achieves all this while looking great, too, with your choice of Standard or Grade AAA-Premium figured maple top beneath a gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish in Heritage Cherry Sunburst, Honey Burst, Desert Burst, Light Burst, Tea Burst, Fireball, Translucent Amber, Translucent Black, Ebony, Gold Top or Blue Mist.
The Les Paul Standard is crafted with all the classic ingredients that helped make this model a legend over the past 54 years. A carved maple top (Standard grade on opaque finishes, AAA-Premium figured on trans finishes) contributes clarity and sustain, while a mahogany body adds depth and richness and new modern weight relief enhances resonance and reduces weight. A solid one-piece, quarter-sawn mahogany neck is glued in with a traditional mortis & tenon joint, and carved in the popular asymmetrical SlimTaper™ profile that first helped make Les Pauls the fastest players on earth back in 1960. But while the rosewood fingerboard looks traditional, its dimensions feel entirely more comfortable in the hand thanks to a compound radius that starts at 10” at the nut for easy chording, and increases to 16” by the end of the board, for superbly breezy lead playing and bending higher up the neck. Traditional acrylic trapezoid markers further maintain the traditional look, echoed by the mother-of-pearl headstock logo and gold “Les Paul Model” silkscreen, while a 17-degree back-angled headstock and a PLEK-cut Corian™ nut aid in sustain and resonance.
In the electronics department, things get interesting all over again. A BurstBucker Pro Rhythm and BurstBucker Pro Lead pickup are routed through push/pull switches hidden in all four control knobs to provide the most versatile wiring package ever loaded into a Les Paul Standard. Pop up either pickup’s volume control to access a new frequency tuned coil tap for a fatter single coil tone and better output balance, with hum canceling when both pickups are combined, and low-noise operation when used individually. Lifting the neck pickup’s tone control reverses the phase of the neck pickup. This yields out-of-phase tones when the pickups are combined in either humbucking or single coil mode. Additionally, when the neck pickup is in single coil mode, the phase switch can be used to determine which coil is on (up for outer and down for inner coil). Finally, the bridge pickup’s tone control offers Gibson’s new Pure Bypass setting, providing a preset “lead mode” that routes the bridge pickup straight to the output jack at full output and brightness—bypassing the volume and tone controls entirely—for instant snarl and wail when you need it (in either humbucking or single-coil mode). Combined with the traditional three-way pickup selector, these switches yield an uprecedented number of tonal options from one guitar, while all the fat, rich, singing Les Paul Standard tone that originally made this guitar famous is still there in spades, too. Top it off with Grover™ Locking Kidney tuners, a TonePros™ tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece, and a traditional cream pickguard in the case should you decide to mount it, and the Les Paul Standard is undoubtedly the most versatile, and one of the best looking, Les Pauls ever to emerge from Gibson USA.